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Newt’s “Pygmy” Outburst

Written By : John Hawkins
July 24, 2007

Newt’s posturing about getting into the 2008 race got tiresome long ago. The reality is that it’s highly unlikely Newt is getting into the race and if he does in October, as he’s been talking about, he couldn’t possibly win at this point.

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That means that the outburst you are about to read is nothing but sour grapes from a guy who’s primarily interested in promoting himself,

“Dismissing the GOP presidential field as a “pathetic” bunch of “pygmies,” Newt Gingrich hinted Monday he might step in to beat Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

“If, in mid-October, it’s quite clear that one or more of the current candidates is strong enough to be a serious alternative to a Clinton-Obama ticket, you don’t need me to run,” the former House Speaker said at a breakfast sponsored by the American Spectator. “If it becomes patently obvious, as the morning paper points out, that the Democrats have raised a hundred million more than the Republicans, and at some point people decide we are going to get Hillary unless there’s a radical change, then there’s space for a candidate,” he added. “So you’ll know by mid-October one of those two futures is real.”

Asked by the Examiner if he was prepared to commit to a run, Gingrich said, “I’m perfectly happy to do what I do,” he said. “Whether that leads to the presidency is the country’s problem, not mine.”

Gingrich mocked Republican presidential candidates for subjecting themselves to a May debate hosted by Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”
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“You’re watching an utterly irrelevant, shallow television celebrity dominate everybody who claimed they want to lead the most powerful nation in the world,” he said.

Gingrich ridiculed “the idea of 10 or 11 people standing passively at microphones,” and said he refused to “shrink to the level of 40-second answers, standing like a trained seal, waiting for someone to throw me a fish.”

He added: “These are not debates, these are auditions. By definition, the psychology of an audition reduces the person auditioning and raises the status, for example, of Chris Matthews.”

Yeah, Newt would never deign to do a debate with Chris Matthews as moderator where he only got to do “40-second answers.” That’s easy for Newt to say because he’s not running. However, I note that all the other contenders who are actually, unlike Newt, in the arena trying to become President are doing these debates.

Also, if the GOP candidates are a pathetic bunch of pygmies, what does it say about Newt that he would be in a distant 5th place amongst the “pygmies” if he got into the race today? By October? Who knows, it could be 6th or 7th.

Let me also add that the titanic arrogance revealed in this question doesn’t speak well for Gingrich’s character,

Asked by the Examiner if he was prepared to commit to a run, Gingrich said, “I’m perfectly happy to do what I do,” he said. “Whether that leads to the presidency is the country’s problem, not mine.”

Newt may be a fine fellow, but he’s not an indispensable man. In fact, he wasn’t even an indispensable speaker, which is why his own caucus unceremoniously dumped him as its leader.

If Newt wants to be this elder statesman and idea man for conservatives, fine. If he even wants to promote himself by teasing a presidential run that probably isn’t going to happen, through gritted teeth, I’ll say that’s fine as well although I don’t think he’s doing any of the candidates who are actually in the race a service by doing that.

However, this sort of nasty carping from the sidelines is harmful to conservatism. One of these guys, not Newt, is going to be the Republican nominee. When that happens, the party is going to have to rally around him and move forward in a difficult political environment. What we don’t need is Newt Gingrich standing around, with his nose in the air, telling everyone that the people we’re choosing from stink, primarily because they’re not him. Quite frankly, it’s just not helpful, especially coming from a guy who seems to be much more concerned with promoting himself at the moment than helping conservatism.

I consult for the Duncan Hunter campaign.

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